Pregnancy / Prenatal Care Judged Poor in USA, Increasing Schizophrenia Risks
A new report suggests that prenatal healthcare in the US rates poorly compared to other modern industrialized countries. While the report is not focused on schizophrenia-specifically, we think the issues the report identifies are important because poor prenatal care has been linked to increased risk of schizophrenia and it would therefore suggest there are many instances of schizophrenia in the US that could have been avoided with better healthcare services and education of mothers prior to, and during pregnancy.
The Associated Press, in their coverage of the report, stated:
"Despite its superpower status, the U.S. survival rate for newborn babies ranks near the bottom among 33 industrialized countries, better only than Latvia.
The U.S. is tied with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia with a death rate of nearly five per 1,000 babies, according to a new report. Latvia's rate is six per 1,000.
"We are the wealthiest country in the world, but there are still pockets of our population who are not getting the health care they need," said Mary Beth Powers, a reproductive health adviser for the U.S.-based Save the Children, which compiled the rankings based on health data from countries and agencies world-wide."
Moreover, it has been noted:
"About half a million U.S. babies are born prematurely each year, data show. African-American babies are twice as likely as white infants to be premature, to have a low birth weight, and to die at birth, according to Save the Children.
Premature births, and low birthrates have been linked with significantly higher rates of schizophrenia
The researchers also said lack of national health insurance and short maternity leaves likely contribute to the poor U.S. rankings. Those factors can lead to poor health care before and during pregnancy, increasing risks for premature births and low birth weight, which are the leading causes of newborn death in industrialized countries....
Other possible factors in the U.S. include teen pregnancies and obesity rates, which both disproportionately affect African-American women and also increase risk for premature births and low birth weights."
The information comes from a new "Save the Children report", released Monday, and comes just one week after publication of another report humbling to the American health-care system. That study showed that white, middle-aged Americans are far less healthy than their peers in England, despite U.S. health-care spending that is double that in England.
U.S. Ranks Low On Newborn Survival
Report Finds One Of Highest Infant Death Rates Among Developed Nations
Pre-natal Factors linked to increased risk of Schizophrenia
Save the Children Report
US Middle Aged people Much Less Healthy than UK citizens, despite much higher health care expenditures in US - BBC Report
ABC News Report on US health vs. UK health
Posted by szadmin at May 9, 2006 12:14 PM
More Information on Schizophrenia Causes, Risk Factors & Prevention
There is no indication that prenatal care has anything to do with the development of schizophrenia. Some research shows prenatal and birth problems are associated with schizophrenia, and some research disproves this. Until the cause of the illness is clear, things that are 'associated' with it or are 'risk factors' do not have a clear tie-in with prevention.
Posted by: slc at May 11, 2006 08:28 AM
I respectfully disagree with your assesment of the prenatal factors that increase risk of schizophrenia. There are literally hundreds of scientific studies that link prenatal care (specifically poor prenatal care) and increased risk of schizophrenia. Here is a summary of some of that research:
So - to say that "there is no indication that prenatal care has to do with the development of schizophrenia" is simply innacurate. There is a TON of research that suggests that this is likely to be true.
I feel like I'm arguing with a Tobacco company executive who refused to acknowledge that tobacco increases risk of cancer - when for decades scientific studies linked the two (despite the lack of absolute "proof").
At some point the reasonable person will say - there is a lot of evidence, and while the evidence isn't 100% conclusive - there is enough to take reasonable action.
As Dr. E. Fuller torrey states in the most recent version of his book "Surviving Schizophrenia" - that in the scientific community "It is now widely accepted that genes by themselves do not cause schizophrenia. It is also widely accepted that genes probably produce susceptibility to schizophrenia in combination with other factors [i.e. environmental factors]." moreover - he notes - prenatal factors are one of the top theories of causal factors in schizophrenia.
Specifically, he states "Developmental theories [ie. prenatal factors influencing risk] of schizophrenia are consistent with findings such as minor physical anomalies, pregnancy and birth complications and an excess of winter and spring births"
Given the hundreds of studies that have linked prenatal environmental factors to higher risk of schizophrenia - I believe its foolish to ignore them in favor of doing nothing until "Iron-clad" PROOF is gained. How many millions of people died from cigarette smoking before the evidence of increased cancer risk from smoking first came out - and the "absolute proof" of the type you are demanding finally make it absolutely clear that cigarettes caused cancer. Given the relatively low cost of prevantative prenatal care - most reasonable people would, I suspect, take the reasonable precautions to minimize risk.
Posted by: szadmin at May 11, 2006 12:25 PM
the scientific community "It is now widely accepted that genes by themselves do not cause schizophrenia. It is also widely accepted that genes probably produce susceptibility to schizophrenia in combination with other factors [i.e. environmental factors]."
THis is Ed's version of what is 'widely accepted'. It more likely means that Ed is touting his own theories, than it is actually widely accepted.
The multifactorial cause is just a theory, a theory. It is a theory that is always proposed when a disease does not occur in a mendelian pattern or has a low rate of inheritance. That is a very short sighted assignment, and historically, the multifactorial theory has been discarded for every disease it has been proposed for. Schizophrenia will be the next one - when the real cause of it is found. The low rate of inheritance proves nothing about cause. All it proves is that we don't know why the rate of inheritance is low.
Posted by: slc2 at May 11, 2006 12:29 PM
SLC2 - that is a direct quote from Dr. E. Fuller Torreys book that just came out about two weeks ago as a new and updated version.
Your opinions on the causal factors of schizophrenia (regarding there being "no evidence") is in DIRECT contradiction with mainstream scientific thought by experts in the field of schizophrenia research.
In fact - to help make this clear - I'll get him and other experts to comment on your opinions and expand upon the current state of the science and causal factors in schizophrenia.
Posted by: szadmin at May 11, 2006 12:34 PM
yep, and i can find authorities that back me up, too. epidemiologists as well as researchers in genetics and biochemistry.
Posted by: slc at May 19, 2006 05:23 AM
in fact, ed fuller is not the be-all and end-all of opinions on the causes of this illness. in fact, he was asked to leave nimh, and having a published book doesn't make him god.
Posted by: slc at May 19, 2006 05:24 AM
until the cause is found, everyone is interpreting data and offering possible explanations, when the cause is known, then you can shoot me down. there are researchers who totally disagree with the multifactorial model presented by many today. it is a MODEL - not a fact.
Posted by: slc at May 19, 2006 05:26 AM
You said "there are researchers who totally disagree with the multifactorial model" - and you are right, there probably are a few. There are also people out there that think that evolution is "just a theory" - and not the fundamental biological underpinning of most of what we understand about species and how they came into existance.
The fact remains however, that the VAST MAJORITY of schizophrenia researchers state that "It is now widely accepted that genes by themselves do not cause schizophrenia. It is also widely accepted that genes probably produce susceptibility to schizophrenia in combination with other factors [i.e. environmental factors]."
There will always be a few fringe researchers or other people that believe other things - but its generally safest to go with the majority of experts believe - and not go with the "fringe". This is my personal opinion.
As I mentioned - I'll get further input from the experts and you can take it or leave it.
Posted by: szadmin at May 21, 2006 02:36 PM